Major Larry James Hanley, USAF

Major Larry J. Hanley was born 13 Feb 1943 in Spokane, Washington and raised in Walla Walla, Washington. He graduated from Walla Walla High school where he was a member of the Army Junior ROTC program and continued his education at the University of Washington and Central Washington State College. While at Central Washington State he was a member of the Air Force ROTC and upon graduation in 1966 he received a commission as a 2nd Lt in the U.S. Air Force.

Major Hanley graduated from flight school and received his wings at Laughlin AFB, Texas on 17 October 1967. He went on to train in the F-4 Phantom at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona. In 1968 then Capt. Hanley was assigned to the 8thTFW/435TFS at Ubon AFB, Thailand and flew 119 combat missions in the F-4 Phantom in support of the war in Vietnam. Upon returning to the states he was assigned to train in the F-105D at McConnell AFB Wichita, Kansas. In August 1969 Capt Hanley volunteered to return to the war and was assigned to the 355thTFW/357TFS at Takhli AFB, Thailand. When asked by his family why he was volunteering to return to the war zone his reply was he was going back so some married man would not have to go.

November 4, 1969 on a mission to North Vietnam, Capt. Hanley’s F-105D aircraft number 1734 was shot down over Laos. He was listed as Missing In Action until 6 February 1979 when the U.S. Air Force changed his status to presumed killed in action. On 1 June 1978, Capt. Hanley was promoted to the rank of Major, U.S. Air Force. Major Larry James Hanley is one who has yet to come home.

Major Hanley’s decorations include:

Distinguished Flying Cross with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster*
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Air Medal with two Silver Oak Leaf Clusters**; three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters

* Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster denotes second and subsequent award of the medal
** Silver Oak Leave Cluster denotes five awards of the medal

VFW Post 3377 Life Member Bill Reesman, and the POW/MIA representative on the Post Honor Guard, has worn Maj. Hanley’s POW/MIA bracelet for many years. The bracelet was first obtained in 1970 and worn by Bill’s grandmother Mrs. R.B. Rickey. On her passing in the late 70’s the bracelet was kept by Bill’s mother and when his parents passed away several years later Bill began to wear the bracelet and does so to this day. A copy of the bracelet is part of VFW Post 3377’s POW/MIA Honor Wall display (pictured below). In the late 1990’s Bill made several annual postings to LOVELETTERS which is part of the P.O.W Network website. This site allows the public to post letters and remembrances to families of POW/MIAs. Through these postings Bill was contacted by a nephew of Maj. Hanley’s and eventually gained contact with other members of the Major’s family.

Maj. Larry J. Hanley was adopted in 2003 by vote of the post membership to represent all POW/MIA from all wars. At that time the vote also approved the creation of the post POW/MIA Honor Wall in the Post Home. With a majority of the funding for the wall display provided by Tamara Burkett of Durham, North Carolina, Bill and VFW Post 3377 Life Members Mike Deel and Terry B. Burkett designed and completed the display in September 2003. On September 20, 2003 the wall was formally dedicated. The Post membership and it’s Ladies Auxiliary were honored to have in attendance at the dedication a sister of Maj. Hanley’s Darlene Allen and her husband Greer of Kirkland, Washington.

POW/MIA Wall - VFW Post 3377 Post Home

The members of VFW Post 3377 and it’s Ladies Auxiliary are honored and gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of Maj. Hanley’s family in providing photos and information for the creation of this web page. Together we reaffirm our belief in and dedication to the POW/MIA motto “You Are Not Forgotten.”